Tribe considers pact with drug agency


TULSA, Okla. (AP) - In an effort to battle the rising number of drug crimes on tribal land, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is considering a unique agreement that would allow a tribal police officer to be cross-commissioned as a federal drug agent.

The tribe's National Council was expected to consider the resolution that would allow the Lighthorse Tribal Police to enter into the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration.

If passed, the agreement would be the first of its kind between the DEA and a tribal police force, Lighthorse Police Chief Jack Shackelford said.

The tribal agency includes more than 20 patrol officers, two criminal investigators and a K-9 unit. Officers are charged with enforcing tribal, state and federal laws in the Creek Nation.

The officer in the new position would be a liaison between the DEA and the Lighthorse police, allowing for a convenient flow of information between the two groups in drug investigations, Shackelford said.

''It's giving us the opportunity to gather information from the DEA and work with them for cases on tribal property,'' he said. ''It opens doors for us to get [criminal] intelligence.''

Under the proposed agreement, the officer would receive intense training under the DEA and could be used to assist in any case the federal agency is working on in the area, he said.

The tribe also is looking at cross-commissioning with the state's drug enforcement agency, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Shackelford said.

The timing for such cross-deputizations is perfect because the amount of drug-related crime near casinos and other tribal land is on the rise, mostly because drug runners and drug dealers are exploiting jurisdictional boundaries, said OBN spokesman Mark Woodward.

Shackelford said the tribe probably will approach the drug agency in April about a cross-jurisdictional agreement.

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